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Ramakrishna Mutt cautions against namesake ashrams

Staff Correspondent

The clarification has come following the establishment of Sri Ramakrishna Mission in Shimoga, a private ashram, recently.

MYSORE: The increase in the number of ashrams established in the name of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda over the past decade has prompted the Ramakrishna Mutt and the Ramakrishna Mission to clarify that several of these ashrams in Karnataka are not its branches.

The clarification from the general secretary of Ramakrishna Mutt and Ramakrishna Mission, Swami Smarananandaji, comes in the light of several ashrams in the State, which are not part of Ramakrishna Mutt and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Mutt, West Bengal but are being projected by mistake as its branches.

It is learnt that individuals in places such as Tumkur, Gadag, Dharwad, Shimoga, Bijapur, Ranebennur, Doddaballapur and Gulbarga have established ashrams, and in all 12 such branches are functioning in Karnataka.

These ashrams have been established by individuals who have received `mantra deeksha' from the monks of Ramakrishna Mission and Ramakrishna Mutt, and have been inspired by the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. The mutts have been established as Ramakrishna Ashram, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Ashram and Ramakrishna-Sharada Ashram.

Official branches

The nine official branches of Ramakrishna Mutt and Ramakrishna Mission include Ramakrishna Mutt, Bull Temple Road, Bangalore; Ramakrishna Mission, Jigani, Bangalore Urban district; Ramakrishna Mutt, Ulsoor, Bangalore; Ramakrishna Ashram, Mysore; Ramakrishna Mutt, Mangalore; Ramakrishna Sharadashrama, Ponnampet, Kodagu; Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, Fort, Belgaum; Sri Ramakrishna Vidyashala, Mysore; and the Ramakrishna Institute of Moral and Spiritual Education, Mysore.

The clarification from the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mutt and Ramakrishna Mission has come following the establishment of Sri Ramakrishna Mission in Shimoga, a private ashram, recently.

The president of Mysore's Sri Ramakrishna Ashram, Swami Atmavidanandaji, told The Hindu that though the Shimoga ashram is not a branch of Belur Mutt, the name has been used there. Sri Ramakrishna Mission and mutt have been registered, and that the name cannot be used without permission.

He said that institutions and ashrams established by individuals must inform the public that they are not the official branches of Belur Mutt.

Giving an illustration, he said, the Gulbarga ashram was able to get a piece of land from a donor who later realised that the ashram is not an official branch of Belur Mutt.

Declaration

Swami Atmavidanandaji said that such ashrams must declare that they are not the official branches, and it could later seek support from the Ramakrishna Mutt and Ramakrishna Mission for spiritual guidance.

He said: "We are not against the establishment of such centres, and if somebody wants to donate knowingly there is no harm. But, the public should not blame the mutt and mission later if something goes wrong."

Renaming

In fact, he said, the Bangalore's Ramakrishna Ashram was recently renamed as Ramakrishna Mutt, and the Mysore's ashram will also be renamed as Sri Ramakrishna Mutt.

On the growth of such ashrams in Karnataka, Swami Atmavidanandaji said that such private centres for imparting spiritual guidance are encouraged in areas where Ramakrishna Mutt and Ramakrishna Mission are not there.

While it took more than 100 years for the establishment of nine official centres in the State, it has taken only a decade for the individuals to start 12 ashrams, he added.

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